If you were to know that a certain haram dish is lying in your fridge you’d be frantic. “Nobody should touch that!” you’d exclaim and rush to trash it. What if I were to tell you that your bathroom shelf and dressing table may also be home to certain haram ingredients. Yes! haram ingredients are very commonly found in our everyday personal care products and cosmetics. However, we aren’t aware of this or we aren’t as careful about them (whereas we should be!).
In the paragraphs below I’ve discussed the five most common haram ingredients found in personal care items. Make sure that you check the labels for any of these before you buy your next deodorant, moisturizing cream, lipstick or any other product.
Five Haram Ingredients are
1. Carmine (Cochineal): Carmine which is also referred to as cochineal, cochineal extract, crimson lake, natural red 4, C.I. 75470 or E-120 is a red color pigment. It is commonly found in red lipsticks, cosmetics, and even red-colored food items. Carmine or Carminic Acid is obtained by boiling the dried scales of a beetle named Cochineal.
All insects other than the locusts are considered haram by the majority of scholars as Prophet Muhammad ﷺ did not mention any insect or bug as halal except for the locusts. Carmine comes under the category of insects and so it is not permissible to consume it. Nonetheless, scholars allow the external application of carmine and its derivatives because the insect is notnajis (impure) 1.
Hence, it can be said that carmine in eyeshadows is okay but care should be taken about this ingredient in lipsticks. Research shows that women eat away much of their lipstick and we don’t want to have something on our lips that contains a haram ingredient!
2. Stearic Acid: Stearic Acid is a fatty acid that is commonly used in a variety of cosmetics and personal care products as an emulsifier, thickening agent, hardening agent and as a fragrance ingredient. It is mainly obtained from animal sources and sometimes from plant sources.
A product containing Stearic acid will be considered halal if it comes from a plant source or if the animal is known to be slaughtered in the Islamic way. Otherwise, if it comes from an animal source and the animal was not slaughtered in the manner prescribed by Islam the product will not be considered as Halal.
3. Collagen: Collagen is a protein found in humans and animals. It is the major component of the connective tissues in our bodies and has many important functions. Lately, collagen is available in the form of supplements and is also being used in cosmetics and personal care products. It is known to improve skin elasticity, reduce wrinkles and increase skin hydration. Collagen is usually derived from animal cartilages but it also comes from plant and vegan sources. If a product contains collagen we need to check where that collagen is being obtained from. If it is obtained from a plant source then the product is safe and halal. If it comes from an animal source and the animal was halal and was slaughtered in the Islamic manner, then also the product will be safe and halal. However, the majority of personal care products are manufactured by non-muslims and their animals are not slaughtered in a halal way. They may even use collagen acquired from pigs. Hence, utmost care must be taken.
4. Ethanol: Ethanol and its derivatives – ethyl alcohol, ethylene, and methylated spirits are very common ingredients in personal care and beauty products like shampoos, deodorants, lotions, and creams. The permissibility of this substance is controversial. The Halal status of ethanol depends on many factors including its source and concentration. Some jurists opine that it is totally Haram while others say that if it is in very little quantity and does not intoxicate then it is permissible. Some allow it in beauty products while others don’t.
Nonetheless, the best option is to stay safe and avoid products that contain alcohol or ethanol. Especially, now that alcohol-free and halal certified products are easily available we must not
put our faith at stake.
5. Glycerin: Glycerin is a colorless, odorless liquid that is used as a moisturizing agent in skin-care products. It is a humectant which means that it attracts water to itself and hence, helps your skin stay hydrated.
This substance can be either plant or animal-based. Again, if an ingredient list contains glycerin we have to make sure that the glycerin comes from a plant source. If it has been obtained from an animal source we’ll have to avoid it unless we’re sure that the animal was halal and was slaughtered in the Islamic manner (zabīha).
These were just five of the most common haram and dubious substances found in our everyday beauty products. There are many more including casein, oleic acid, lauric acid and gelatin which may come from animal or plant sources. Most cosmetics and personal care products do not list the source and it becomes a pain to determine whether the product is halal or not. At times, even the manufacturers are unable to confirm the source of these ingredients.
In any case, the best and safest option is to go to the halal! Choose halal-certified products, have peace of mind, stay healthy and stay beautiful. To know more read here https://islamqa.org/hanafi/askimam/75828